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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Century City

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Century City offers a lifestyle that is almost self-contained, with its green spaces and canals, the biggest shopping centre in Cape Town, homes with views, and offices and schools

Century City has grown into a successful area that embodies the live-work-play concept. The 250ha precinct was originally promoted as a residential area and it floundered.

But, along with the construction of Canal Walk, Cape Town’s largest shopping centre, Century City’s rezoning to a mixeduse area re-energised the project and it took off. In 2004 Rabie Property Group acquired the remaining undeveloped land and development rights.

To date the group has developed more than one million square metres, with projects in the pipeline for the next eight to 10 years. The first sell-out residential development was The Island Club, later complemented by office and shopping components, two hotels and a conference centre.

There are plans to open the precinct’s first convenience shopping centre in August opposite the Curro schools. Resident Fred Grunewald says it is the mixed-use nature of Century City that works for him.

“We have been living here for the past 18 years. We’ve seen how the precinct has evolved over time, embracing the principles of new urbanism. It combines office, retail, residential, leisure and environmental components in a great place to live and to be.

“Whether a resident, visitor or simply here on business, you are spoilt with an expanding selection of things to do and places to eat, from formal options to relaxed, comfort food restaurants.”

One of the jewels of Century City is the 16ha green lung known as Intaka Island. It achieved voluntary Conservation Status in 2006 and includes 8ha of ecologically sensitive ephemeral pans.

Picture: Rabie Property Group

More than 8km of navigable canals are kept clean by the reconstructed wetlands, which are used by keen kayakers and bird watchers. The concept of live, work, play has gained traction in other areas of Cape Town as well, most notably in the Cape Town CBD, with a number of conversions from office to residential.

With people living close to their places of work, other businesses such as convenience stores flourish. As with other areas of the Mother City, Century City has been affected by market vagaries thanks to the current economic and investment climate, and caution ahead of the general election next week. 

According to Rabie, resales are doing well, thanks to the fact that new buyers are finding merit in purchasing slightly older homes at value-for-money prices. Century City is well maintained and secure. Residents have a huge range of shopping opportunities, a comprehensive school system, extensive leisure facilities and access to public transport as well as good access to major highways.


Fred Grunewald’s favourite places and things to do

We have been residents of Century City for 18 years. We’ve seen how the precinct
has evolved over time, to combine office, retail, residential, leisure and environmental components. – Fred Grunewald
Picture: Supplied


1 Eat

This is one place where you have no excuse to go hungry. For fine dining, the Towers Restaurant in the Marriott Hotel Crystals Tower is worth exploring (021 525 3888).

For a more informal meal, The Square Café and Wine Bar offers an unpretentious menu in a relaxed atmosphere (021 204 8000).

Monthly from the end of May, the Century City Night Market offers live music and great food.
Picture: Rabie Property Group

2 Drink

With an impressive array of craft beers and cocktails, Tiger’s Milk in Century City is popular for sundowners. The menu can stand up against more specialist restaurants in town (021 286 2191).

The Slug and Lettuce, with its English pub feel, is another popular watering hole. 021 555 0158

3 Outdoors

The 250ha precinct offers a plethora of outdoor activities, like stand-up paddling on the 8km of canals, touch rugby, a running club that meets on Tuesdays after work and Fives Futbol – a five-a-side version of the Beautiful Game played on all-weather surfaces year round.

For the not-so-energetic there’s an art walk. Launched with an initial 24 exhibits – mostly outdoors – the collection showcases the work of a number of community-based artists.

4 Shop

Covering 141 000m² and with more than 400 stores, Canal Walk is Cape Town’s largest shopping centre. It is open from 9am to 9pm almost every day of the year (021 529 9699).

The Century City Outdoors Goods market is an opportunity to have some retail therapy outside. It offers fresh, gourmet produce, preserves and wine, clothing as well as health and beauty products. This market is now on its winter schedule of the last Friday of the month from 4pm to 9pm. 021 531 2173

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